Scheduled to be held on Sunday, April 24, the early season Marco Polo Challenge triathlon in Croatia is getting set for its 11th edition this year.
The half distance triathlon (1.9 km, 90km, 21km) marks the official opening of the triathlon season in Croatia and hosts the middle distance Croatian Championships.
The Marco Polo Challenge is based in the medieval town of Korčula and will span the entire island of Korčula itself. The island on the Adriatic sea is known for its cultural and natural heritage. The event is named after Marco Polo the 13th century traveller and explorer – with Korčula named as his reputed birthplace alongside claims that he or his family originated on the island.
The Marco Polo Challenge is jointly organized by Triathlon Club Split, Korčula Tourist Board and the town of Korčula in co-operation with Vela Luka and Smokvica municipalities and their tourist boards.
The main race will be joined by a sprint distance triathlon, sprint team relay and a 5km charity-fundraising run event. The organising team add that ‘the weather is amazing at this time of year and there are few tourists.’
The organisers have prepared cash prizes along with the opportunity for athletes to raise money for charity.
Nika Silić Maroević, Korčula Town Mayor, said “Welcome to Korčula – the island of Marco Polo that will enchant you with its natural beauty and cultural heritage. Discover our beautiful island; enjoy wandering around streets shaded by old stone houses, the most romantic sunrises, beautiful beaches and unique sword dances.
“Discover the taste of traditional local seasonal food and the finest Korčula wines and the extra virgin olive oils. Korčula is an ideal year-round triathlon holiday destination, as you will see for yourself during the competition.”
Hana Turudić, Korčula Town Tourist Board Director, said “Croatia has more than a thousand islands, and Korčula is different because of its wide range of activities. Korčula has been declared the safest Croatian island for a paradise vacation by Forbes magazine, which placed it on a list of the 12 safest islands in Europe.
“Get your bikes, running shoes and wetsuits ready for the challenging race and have a great time in Marco Polo’s home town. We invite you to extend your stay on Korčula and enjoy everything a warm spring time in the south of Dalmatia can offer.”
The climate on Korčula island offers good weather conditions year around, including open water swimming without wetsuits for most of the year.
“We are thrilled to be bringing the championships in middle distance triathlon to this beautiful island of Croatia, and we are confident that athletes will have not only a great race experience but also a wonderful weekend in Korčula at the end of April,” said Ivan Pavić, Race Director and General Secretary of Triathlon Club Split.
Due to an early season race date, the event’s accommodation sponsor, Aminess Hotels & Campsites, is offering participants ‘top-of-the-line accommodation at extremely affordable rates’.
Marco Polo Challenge is served by Dubrovnik International Airport and Split Airport with travel to Korčula by ferry and catamaran. The organisers add that Split and Dubrovnik airports are both accessed by regular, low-cost carriers from all over Europe.